Monday, July 13, 2015

Styx - A.D. 1928 / Rockin' the Paradise

Long time readers will recall that videos which were played during the first day of MTV (August 1, 1981) have a special place in our hearts at ERV.  Is this rational?  Probably not. (Especially since we did not get MTV on our cable system until the following summer).  But there you have it.

Which brings us the Styx' "A.D. 1928 / Rockin' The Paradise," the 10th video played on MTV (yes, ever).  "A.D. 1928" is the piano and keyboard intro, while "Rockin' the Paradise" begins with the guitars (around 1:10 below).  The song is a good example of the band combining different musical styles, while the live (ish) video highlights the band's showmanship.

Styx are an interesting band and an unlikely success story.  The group formed in Chicago in the late 1960's and officially became Styx when they signed their first recording contract in 1972.  Originally a prog rock act, the band's style become progressively more pop rock during the 1970's, leading to their 1977 breakout, The Grand Illusion.

"Rockin' the Paradise" was off the group's 1981 Paradise Theater album, a concept album based on the opening and eventual closing of a theater in Chicago.  By this point, the tension between guitarists Tommy Shaw / James Young (who were more rock oriented) and keyboardist Dennis DeYoung (who was more pop ballad focused) were nearing a breaking point.  The conflict would eventually boil over during the 1983 Kilroy Was Here album and the group would break up the following year.

In spite of this, the Paradise Theater album would reach #1 on the charts, although "Rockin' the Paradise" surprisingly did not chart.  However, "The Best of Times" (#3) and "Too Much Time on My Hands" (#9) would both break the top 10.

Styx re-formed in 1989 (without Tommy Shaw, who was in Damn Yankees at the time), broke up in 1992, and reformed in 1995.  They remain together (with some personnel changes) as of this writing.

Tommy Shaw's solo video for "Girls With Guns" was posted on ERV in September 2013.

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